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Musician Lance Bass revealed he was diagnosed with diabetes during the COVID-19 lockdown and shared how he’s learned to manage living with the condition. Fred Hayes/Getty Images for Tru by Hilton
  • NSYNC star Lance Bass says he has been diagnosed with diabetes.
  • The musician said he’s been learning how to manage the condition with medication, regular exercise, and adjusting his diet.
  • Experts say insulin sensitivity naturally declines, and your metabolism slows down as you age, increasing your risk of developing diabetes.
  • You can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by exercising after eating, being mindful of your carbohydrate consumption, and finding activities that improve your emotional wellbeing.

Lance Bass, 44, has recently revealed he has been diagnosed with diabetes.

“I developed diabetes during COVID, and I’m really trying to figure out how to control that,” the NSYNC band member said in an interview with People. “I’m learning what you can eat, when you can eat, when you take your insulin — and all that has just been really hard lately.”

Since his diagnosis, Bass has prioritized his health and made some adjustments to his lifestyle.

The star said, “The older I get, the more I know I have to take care of my body. So I work out when I can,” adding that his go-to forms of exercise are running on a treadmill and full-body strength training.

Bass has also been drinking plenty of water to help manage his diabetes.

“The biggest thing that I’ve learned is to drink tons and tons of water. You think you’re drinking too much water, [but] you need to drink even more than that,” he shared.

In addition, the singer has been minding his mental health through meditation and his love of hiking.

“I’ve learned to meditate, which is just incredible for me. It just cuts my brain off just for a few minutes, [and] I love to do some meditation in the morning,” he said.

It’s unclear whether Bass received a type 1 or a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. However, according to the CDC’s National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2020, adults ages 45 to 64 are the demographic most likely to receive a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

So, why can otherwise healthy adults develop diabetes at this age?

“It’s a common misconception that you only get type 2 diabetes if you’re overweight,” said registered nutritionist Thalia Pellegrini.

“The phrase “skinny fat,” also known as MONW, which stands for metabolically obese, normal weight, refers to being at risk of conditions like diabetes without being overweight or obese,” she explained. “Skinny fat” is used to describe visceral fat, fat deep under the skin that accumulates within the abdominal wall and around organs such as the kidneys and intestines.

Because it is deep under the skin, you can’t see it, so you may not know you’re at risk.

However, MONW is a risk factor for diabetes because it can impact insulin resistance, which can, in turn, lead to diabetes.

“An individual can have a poor diet, a sedentary work life or not do enough exercise, not be overweight, but be at risk of diabetes,” Pellegrini pointed out.

The slow down of your metabolism as you age can also be a contributing factor.” As we age, our metabolism slows down, and this can make weight gain more likely,” Pellegrini explained.

“Also, as we age, there is a higher risk of developing sarcopenia, which is an age-related loss of muscle mass and strength – another factor that contributes to the development of type 2 diabetes,” Pellegrini added.

What’s more, Holly Rothschild, registered nutritional therapist at Integral Wellness, said the risk of developing diabetes increases as we age as insulin sensitivity – our body’s responsiveness to insulin which regulates blood sugar – naturally declines.

“However, there are numerous factors that increase risk, including ethnicity, family history, being overweight or obese, having a sedentary lifestyle, poor quality sleep, shift work, smoking, and alcohol in excess,” Rothschild pointed out.

Certain medications and other medical conditions can also increase your risk, including polycystic ovary syndrome, heart attack, stroke, and hypertension.

Bass has taken many steps to prioritize his health since receiving a diabetes diagnosis, including increasing his activity levels, drinking more water, and minding his mental health.

Rothschild said he’s right to focus on these three areas while managing diabetes.

“Exercise is a brilliant tool for increasing insulin sensitivity and naturally reducing blood glucose, particularly exercise which promotes muscle mass,” she explained. “This is because the more muscle you have, the more cells you will have to store the glucose in, which means less glucose remains in the bloodstream or gets converted to fat for storage.”

As for upping hydration? Rothschild said that when we are dehydrated, blood sugar concentrations rise.

Given that the body’s mechanism for excreting excess sugar is through the urine, drinking plenty of water is essential for keeping sugar levels in the body at the right level.

Meditation may not seem like a particularly effective strategy for managing diabetes, but Rothschild said she disagrees.

She noted that stress is a key driver of insulin resistance (a condition where the body doesn’t respond to insulin and is unable to convert glucose into energy) due to its impact on hormones.

“The stress hormone cortisol blunts the insulin response which is why chronic stress can have such a profound impact on blood sugars,” she notes.

Health experts say that following Bass’ lead by doing more exercise is a good place to start.

“Exercise helps to reduce spikes in blood sugar, particularly after a meal, so aim to move your body every day,” Pellegrini advises.

“If you don’t exercise much or at all, start small. A short walk after a meal may feel like a manageable goal that can be built on,” she suggested.

Improving the overall healthfulness of your diet is also key.

“Even modest changes to your day-to-day diet can support healthier blood sugar levels,” Pellegrini said.

For example, you could add one extra portion of fruit or vegetables to your diet each day or swap white bread for brown bread, which is higher in fiber.

Rothschild said she recommends eating lean protein and healthy fats with each meal.

“These foods/macronutrients do not impact blood sugars in the same way as ultra-processed foods and traditional carbohydrates,” she explained.

She recommended being more mindful of your carbohydrate consumption, too.

“If cereal at breakfast, sandwiches at lunch, and a dinner with a side of potatoes, rice, or pasta is your everyday norm, then consider how you can make one of these meals free of the traditional carbs,” she advised.

Sleep and stress are two other areas you can work to improve.

“Poor sleep quality and quantity directly affects how the body handles sugar and long-term that can contribute to insulin resistance,” Rothschild pointed out.

Not eating late at night is one way to improve the quality of your sleep.

Meanwhile, Rothschild says stress management should be a priority for everyone. “Find what works for you and commit to nurturing yourself, whether it’s time in nature, deep diaphragmatic breathing, singing, dancing, grounding, yoga, tai-chi, cold water swimming, mindful coloring, or something else,” she said.

Doing so provides many benefits, including improved digestion, lower inflammation levels, and better quality sleep, all of which can reduce your risk of diabetes.

Lance Bass’ diagnosis challenges preconceived ideas about diabetes being an illness that only affects people living with overweight or obesity.

Your risk of diabetes increases as you get older, but it’s possible to reduce it.

Adopting a diet that prioritizes protein and healthy fats, getting regular exercise, and managing stress are all ways in which you can reduce your risk.